The association of American nations emerged from the 9th Pan American Conference, held in Bogotá in 1948, roughly three weeks after the assassination of Gaitán, who was popularly believed to be the next Colombian President. Bogotá was rebuilding after riots following the death of the popular politicians led to the fiercest riots in the country’s history.Across the country supporters of Gaitán’s Liberal Party and followers of the ruling Conservative Party were starting to attack eachother. The violence between the two politicial groups lasted for about a decade and has gone into history as “La Violencia”.One of the Latin Americans in the city at that time of Gaitán’s assassination and during the formation of the OAS was the 21-year old Cuban lawyer Fidél Castro, who was president of the Cuban student federation at that time and already was building a peasant army in Cuba. The events happening in Bogotá that month allegedly inspired Castro to start the successful popular uproar in Cuba exactly half a year later.The conference leading to the official birth of the OAS had started before the assassination Gaitán already and was led by U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall. On May 30, 1958, 21 American countries signed in on the “Charter of the Organization of American States”.The organization was to fight communism and and improve human rights in the Americas.During its sixty years of existence the OAS two Colombian diplomats presided over the organization.It’s the second time Colombia hosts a meeting of the organization’s General Assembly. The last time was in 1985 in Cartagena.
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